What Is Magnesium Beta-hydroxybutyrate?
Magnesium Beta-hydroxybutyrate (also known as β-hydroxybutyrate, or BHB) is a ketone body synthesized in your liver from fatty acids. It can be an essential carrier of energy from your liver to your peripheral tissues if your glucose supply is too low for the energetic needs of your body.1
For instance, if you are engaging in a period of sustained exercise, prolonged starvation, or in the absence of dietary carbohydrates for whatever reason, your liver will send ketones out to help you get through the energetic drought.2
Now, more than 80% of your body’s stored energy is housed within the fatty acids contained in your adipose tissue. When you fast, once your muscle and liver stores of glycogen are spent, the fatty from adipocytes are gathered and transported to your liver so they can be converted to ketone bodies. Next, your blood circulates your ketone bodies to the metabolically active tissue in your muscles or brain. There, they’re metabolized into ATP to provide energy to the rest of your body.3
When you fast (intermittently), you activate ketosis, which raises the levels of BHB in your blood.4
Of course, it can be tough to decipher between the different ketones out there. So, let’s dig deeper into what the word “ketone” means. A ketone (or ketoacid) is basically an alternative fuel for your body that’s made when your glucose is in short supply. When your liver breaks down fat, it gets converted into ketones.5
Whether you’re asleep overnight or fasting for another reason, these periods can cause a decrease in your insulin levels. Meanwhile, your epinephrine and glucagon levels remain normal. The combination of low insulin and standard epinephrine and glucagon levels allows fat to release from fat cells and travel via your blood to your liver, where they can be processed into ketone units.6
Once converted, they circulate back to your muscle and other tissues via your blood, where they can help fuel your metabolism.7
Potential Health Benefits Of Ketones?
When it comes to the potential health benefits of beta-hydroxybutyrate, it can be said that BHB is a passive carrier of energy. But that’s not all. It turns out beta-hydroxybutyrate also has several different signaling functions on the surface of cells and within the cells that may have an impact on the following biological processes:
- Gene expression†
- Lipid metabolism†
- Neuronal function†
- Metabolic rate8,9†
It’s also important to note that nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (or NAD) is a cofactor crucial to compromised metabolic processes and aging. But when BHB is present, fewer NAD+ molecules are consumed than if glucose is used by the body for energy.10†
Finally, BHB might help support the body’s defense against free radical damage.11†
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- 1-4 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6640868/
- 5-7 https://dtc.ucsf.edu/types-of-diabetes/type2/understanding-type-2-diabetes/how-the-body-processes-sugar/ketones/
- 8-11 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6640868/